The Creatives: An Interview With Sarah Nuttall

In a couple of weeks The Forgiveness of Blood the new film by director Joshua Marsten of Maria Full of Grace fame, will begin its theatrical release stateside.  One of the woman responsible for that release is Sarah Nuttall, International Sales & Distribution for Fandango Portobello, a sales agency and film financier, headquartered in London.  I had been hearing for years about her fabulous self from folks lucky enough to work with her and finally had the chance to spend a lovely day with her ( and Louie her brilliant and charming publisher husband) in Hastings over the Christmas holiday.  As it turned out I had been to Hastings (an impossibly perfect sea port town) years earlier when I was living in Hove, near Brighton.  So when we had the opportunity to visit again, I was over the moon.  Sarah, fabulous indeed, is also smart, beautiful, and stylish, not to mention, a gracious host.  It was a smashing time, filled with champaigne, meandering walks on the cliffs and through town, and breakneck paced conversation over gorgeous food.  I had the most fun I have had in a long time, hating to leave, but happy to have a new friend. 

What do you see trending now in fashion?  

My life is a little too ridiculously locationed to answer this sensibly. During the week, I live in Shoreditch, which next to Brooklyn is probably the trendiest hood on the planet.  It's teeming with young fashionistas, experimental haircuts (occassionally unaccompanied), beautiful students with seemingly limitless wealth and time. Even on a dreary Tuesday it feels like you are not walking down a street so much as holding your breath as you dash through an open casting session for a super cool pop video.  They make so much Effort.  Consequently I cannot refer to them to see what's trending because they are 1000 years ahead of the rest of the world and so tiny they can literally wear anything.  So I struggle through this exotic display of protazoa down into the tube where everyone looks like they walked out of the same 5 wardrobes and pop out at super posh Holland Park, where as far as I can tell black labradors are trending along with South East Asian nannies and Polish cleaners.  The yummy mummies gathered around the local pre-school gates are so rich they don't even bother to get dressed properly and just turn up in $1000 tracksuits to bray about their ringletted offsprings' potato painting skills.  One day I hope to see an actual fight.  Then at the weekends I go to our cottage in Hastings.  A town on the south coast of England, written off as a dump by the majority, known to the minority who live there as spellbingingly free and lovely. It's like 1967.  Particularly the old town, which is host to the most beautiful and creative shopkeepers.  The trick is property is cheap and they can afford to take risks that would otherwise be impossible in a more commercial, prosperous town. They own beautifully curated antique shops, piled high junk shops, personally prepared vintage shops and nearly new, flowers, cards, pottery, galleries, cafes and Belle's Bicycles which is inspired and not remotely cynical.  Good for her! I always think when I walk past.  The town is home to loads of creative and artistic types, some actually quite important elsewhere. It's very "individual" as you would quickly glean from the fantastic home made costumes they pour into on any of the many dressing up occassions the town hosts (6000 people dress as pirates for one day in August - I am not joking - it's awesome!).  It's a make your own fun, make your own style kind of 'island' community, uncorrupted by the demented sirens of Grazia and similar weekly fashion rags.  Everyone's wardrobes are the work of years of salvage, blind love, lack of money and nerve. Not the dim witted accummulation of this month's "must haves" (see 'tube' dwellers). So, in short I have no idea what is trending in the real world. Crinolines?

When was the last time you had a fashion epiphany? 

When I walked into my friend Lieda's beautiful shop Warp and Weft and shouted "I don't care what anyone thinks I want to dress like a boy! Fuck them all"  But I am currently obsessed with finding a tweed skirt, fitted with one or three pleats at the front. Go tell it to Aunt Frumpton.  It's all because of my 60s sheepskin car coat which Louis (partner) says make me look eerily like his granny and excessive reading about late 50s/early 60s music business. 

What is your favorite High brand?

Hmm does not apply.  I  have yet to break the £80 barrier on a decent jumper. No, actually make that £50 and the one I just bought and am obsesssed with is a £45 vintage, home made, blue and white striped french jumper with sailor buttons on one shoulder. The knitter of which obviously ran out of wool three quarters of the way down the sleeves.  It's not remotely flattering but it feeds my clifftop dwelling sheep farmer fantasy.  It just doesn't make sense to me to spend serious money on new clothes as I never like one thing long enough to justify it. The only thing I could justify splurging on would be the ultimate, all dreams fulfilled leather bag - I have a savings account especially for when that miracle happens and it WILL.  O, actually I do have a high brand in the Chelsea/Kensington sense - Hunter wellies. Navy blue ones covered in real mud - I wish I could wear them to work.

And your low brand?

Wow, how low do you want to go. Like anyone with an ego, I find shopping for jeans a total and utter hideous nightmare, certain to destroy whatever self esteem was left after the last pair, erm, shrunk.  Cellulite dimples amplified in dressing room lighting in THREE WAY MIRRORS.  Kill me. Anyway, one day last year I discovered a pair of 'jeans' (if denim is an actual material they they cannot claim to be this) that fitted me perfectly in a cheap British shop called New Look!  So I bought 6 pairs. Job done for the next 10 years subject to controlling my intake of petits fours.  If they ever stop the line I will take a New Look seamstress (age 6 and a half) hostage and force her to run me up a few spares then give her jelly and ice cream.  

How do you mix high and low?

With a spoon.

What is your go-to uniform for a day of work? 

Jeans and jumpers mainly. Really dull. I have been better this year but last year I literally had 12 of the same v neck from uniqlo in different dark colours and wore them every day. It was like some sort of fashion OCD. I change my bag around but otherwise am content to wear essentially the same thing so I don't have to think about it in the mornings. I rarely see anyone other than my 3 colleagues and certainly have no one to impress so why bother. And as you can see from the above, competing on the London streets with Miss Time and Madam Money is pointless.  The pressure is on when I have to go to film fesivals and markets and - horror - have meetings or double horror - go to a premiere.  I think I have packed the same things for three years in a row now. I have two black chiffon vintage dresses for the screenings, and some 'clean clothes' for the meetings and Gap men's trousers for smart. Ha! I fool no one, I can assure you. 
The weekend?

Joy, rapture. Car coat, wellies, stripey jumper, jeans. This is the basic structure regardless of what's happening and I am wearing it right now.  Again.  I will wear it to go out to the cinema and dinner tonight and you know what, in Hastings, no one cares.  Just like it wouldn't care if I went to breakfast in a ball gown. What a town!  

What is your favorite ILR piece and why?  

The first time I met Gaby, she was were wearing the most beautiful rings, primitive and elegant. I have not seen more of her pieces for real but I know I will buy from ILR one day and it will be something I will cheerfully wear every day (with my v necks - she will be so proud)

Who are your style icons?  

Hasting old towners because they genuinly don't give a toss and still look fantastic and weather beaten. And a bit bonkers.  In the Fisherman's Museum there are pictures of old bearded men from the early 20th century in rough canvas tunics, battered leather boots that weigh more than me and oilskin trousers smoking pipes. It's like window shopping on Bond Street.   And Marie Antoinette.